Gabriela González, a scientist from Córdoba, brought a pretty historic end to her year after finding herself included among the 10 most distinguished scientific personalities in the world. The accolade was awarded by the magazine ‘Nature’, founded in 1869 and one of the most important scientific publications in the world.
González, who trained in Argentina at the National University of Córdoba before leaving for the United States in 1989 to continue her career in physics, is described by the magazine to have “struggled to keep the greatest secret of her life.” This is most likely in reference to her world changing discovery of gravitational waves — an achievement said to be akin to Einstein verifying predictions made in his Theory of Relativity.
“We were counting on the theory [of Relativity] to be able to detect these gravitational waves and use them in astronomy…now we are listening to the Universe… not just looking at it with a telescope.” she added.
González is ranked alongside a host of remarkable scientists responsible for equally incredible breakthroughs and achievements. Also carrying the flag for women in the sciences is Brazilian infectious disease specialist, Celina Turchi, who detected the link between microcephaly and the Zika virus. Spanish astronomer Guillem Anglada-Escudé also appears in the ranking, for the discovery of a new planet orbiting its star, Next Centauri, among others.
The timing of the announcement is particularly poignant to many in Argentina’s scientific community. Amidst numerous protests, this achievement shows just how important funding for the sciences is, after the Government announced a controversial plan to cut the budget for scientific research for the coming year.